On Worship in the Past, the Present, and the Future.

Some souls find a difficulty in understanding how animal sacrifices should again be resorted to after the church has been caught up to heaven, imagining that the Jewish ritual has been once and for ever abolished, consequent on the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross having been offered up. The Mosaic ritual is never said to be abolished. We who believe on the Lord have died to the law, and those called to go with Christ without the camp of necessity turned their backs once and for ever on the temple and its ritual. But the recurrence of sacrifices is so clearly stated in Ezek. 40 - 46, that the fact is settled at once for the soul which bows to the Word. Isa. 66:23, too, intimates it, and Mal. 1:11 likewise. Further, the sons of Zadok will be reinstated in their priestly office and functions, as the holy priesthood, to offer up animal sacrifices (Ezek. 44:15-16); for the covenant of an everlasting priesthood made with Phinehas the Lord will not revoke.

But the difficulty in the mind probably arises from not understanding, that an essential difference exists between the character of worship suited for men on earth, whose calling and prospects are earthly, and that suited for those whose calling and portion are heavenly, those who share in the latter worship on earth after the manner in which they will worship in heaven; i.e. without a ritual in which animal sacrifices or literal incense have a place. Hence they need no altar; and the language of the elders in heaven (Rev. 5) suits Christians now on earth who worship in spirit and in truth, for such worship the Father (John 4:23), and by the Spirit of God. (Phil. 3:3.) It is evident, then, that no unconverted person can have part in such a service. Only children can worship the Father; only those who are partakers of salvation can worship by the Spirit of God, and such the Lord calls true worshippers.

But in the days before the cross the case was different. Men approached God by sacrifice, and Israel, God's peculiar people, drew nigh to the altar with their offerings and sacrifices; at least, they were all commanded to do it, without the question being thereby raised of the individual's conversion. As God's earthly people they were to own Him, and in doing that governmental dealing was at times averted. Christians bring not their sacrifices, the fruit of their lips, to avert the divine displeasure, or to ensure acceptance. They worship because the divine displeasure has been for ever averted from them, and they stand in the acceptance which flows from the abiding value in God's eye of the atoning death of His Son. As the Creator and as Jehovah God was worshipped before the cross; as such He will be worshipped again. Hence of old unconverted people could worship Him. Saul worshipped the Lord (1 Sam. 15:31) in the past, and the spared of all nations who shall come against Jerusalem (Zech. 4:16) will in the future. See also the proclamation of the everlasting gospel, noting the classes of persons to whom it is addressed (Rev. 14:4-5), and the prophetic announcements in Ps. 22:27-29, Ps. 86:9-10, Isa. 66:23, Zeph. 2:11. All flesh in that day will not be converted (Ps. 18:44, margin), but all will worship God.

Further, the revival of the Mosaic ritual need not engender any difficulty in the minds of the Scripture student. Sacrifice can be commemorative as well as anticipative. In the blood of bulls and goats there was no intrinsic value. (Heb. 10:4.) Their blood was typical of the blood of Christ. By-and-by, when the blood of the sacrificial animals shall again be shed, it will be in commemoration of the atoning blood of Christ shed once for all on the cross. There is really no more difficulty in the thought of sacrifices in commemoration of what has been offered up, than in sacrifices anticipative of it; and since the normal manner of worship for those whose prospects are bounded by earth is by sacrifices, they will be again resorted to when, the earthly people shall be once more owned as the people of Jehovah. * * *

The adversary gets many an advantage over us through slovenliness. How little equal are we to the occasions that present themselves. Satan works more effectually now with the pillow than he formerly did with the stake.

The world never gives you a thing without your giving up something of Christ for it. I believe you have to buy every bit of worldliness you get, and to pay very dear for it too!

Never forget what James says, "Whosoever therefore is minded to be [the] friend of the world is constituted the enemy of God." (New translation.)